Vibrating systems with singular mass-inertia matrices arise in recent continuum models of Smart Structures (beams with PZT strips) in assessing the damping attainable with rate feedback. While they do not quite yield 'distributed' controls, we show that they can provide a fixed nonzero lower bound for the damping coefficient at all mode frequencies. The mathematical machinery for modelling the motion involves the theory of Semigroups of Operators. We consider a Timoshenko model for torsion only, a 'smart string,' where the damping coefficient turns out to be a constant at all frequencies. We also observe that the damping increases initially with the feedback gain but decreases to zero eventually as the gain increases without limit.